Background To Electric December 2010

Electric December ‘10 is here thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of Fairfield High School’s BTEC Media students, who have contributed an enormous amount to make sure this will be a great year for Watershed’s annual online showcase of creative talent.

Building on last year’s success, that saw an international steering group of young people from Lithuania and Bristol (including a group of students from Fairfield) curate Electric December ‘09, we’re delighted that Fairfield has this year taken a lead role in shaping the calendar.

The planning process for Electric December kicked off in the summer with an inspiration day, aimed to encourage Bristol and Bath schools to get involved in the project. Students from six schools including Fairfield High School were invited to take part in a practical filmmaking workshop under the watchful eye of professional filmmakers from BBC Bristol and Bristol CLC, to inspire them to get involved in the project.

The participating students then created all the background images for this year’s website in a photography workshop. This workshop was run in October under the guidance of professional photographer Kirsty Mackay, who has assisted some of the top fashion and advertising photographers in the UK and abroad including Herb Ritts, Albert Watson, Nick Knight and Anton Corbijn.

One of Fairfield’s students, Katrina, said of the session:

“The Watershed photography day was incredible. We were given brand new cameras and then split up to do a variety of different workshops. There were location shots where we were let loose on the harbour side and we learned a lot about creative angles and seeing our environment differently. Secondly we focused on portrait shots and tried to take professional looking pictures of our partners that captured their individuality. Finally we played around with light writing where we went into the cinema and experimented with a slow shutter speed and all sorts of lights – the effects were electric! At the end of the day we did a photo marathon and looked at some of the amazing photos that our peers had taken. What an inspiring day! “

The photography workshop produced some fantastic results and have helped to shape the overall appearance of Electric December 2010.

Submissions closed in mid October, and over 100 entries from 10 European countries were received. Watershed then had the tough job of whittling down the films to just 24 mini masterpieces. Once this process was complete, the Fairfield students then stepped up to the challenge of watching the whole shortlist and making the tough decision of which one would win this year’s prestigious Electric December prize, which will be presented to the filmmaker during the 2010 website launch on December 1st.

Thanks to projects like Electric December, Fairfield has seen a vast increase in the number of Media Studies entrants grow from 12 to over 40 students since 2009. Fairfield High School has been an essential part of the process of Electric December, but they will also be using their input as a chance to enhance their final grades. Better still, Fairfield student Penry Downey has had his own film, “Better Late Than Never” not only included in the shortlist, but also selected as one of this year’s top three films!

Fairfield’s Head of Media, Anna Wredenfors, reflects on what a rewarding experience Electric December has been for her students.

“Not only am I so proud that Penry, a year 11 Fairfield BTEC Media student, has got through to the 24 top films but I am also proud of all the students involved. My students have been empowered and inspired by working with Watershed. This unique experience which came about through the Fairfield and Watershed partnership has allowed our young people to gain an insight into the real mechanics of a top Media event.”

Photography Workshop images

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Electric December is a Watershed project with support from Bristol City Council as part of Fresh Flix 2010. Fresh Flix 2010 is presented by Encounters International Film Festival and Watershed.